Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels For some folks, the question isn't when to file, but whether they need to do so at all. It's a legitimate issue. While most of us do have to send in a Form 1040 every year, there are some situations where the Internal Revenue Service doesn't demand filing. So just who has to file a tax return? Filing requirements for most of us: Generally, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident you must consider three things when determining whether you have to file a tax return: your age, your filing status and your... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell I'm married to a procrastinator. The most infuriating thing about it is not that he puts off things, but that occasionally he's right to not rush to finish projects. And yes, projects is a euphemism for tasks I've asked him to do. Sometimes situations change, making moot what originally looked like the right move. Other times, the delay prevents making what would have been a wrong action. And in a few cases, if a job was done on my timetable, the changed circumstances would have meant redoing it. So over the many years we've been together,... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell The 2022 filing season is already underway for many taxpayers even though the Internal Revenue Service won't start processing their returns until Jan. 24. But these early bird filers are on to something. Here are eight reasons you might want to consider completing your Form 1040 soon. 1. To get the rest of your Child Tax Credit. Around 36 million families last year got an early tax benefit. The IRS delivered half of their 2021 tax year Child Tax Credit (CTC) in advance as monthly payments from last July through December. The maximum advance amounts were... Read more →


Photo by Andea Piacquadio from Pexels Back in olden times, taxpayers put their literal signatures on the 1040 forms they filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Now, most of us electronically sign our tax returns. Regardless of which method you use, the end result is the same. If you don't sign your tax return, it's not a valid submission. That oversight cost one expatriate couple $12,697 in tax refunds. The loss recently was affirmed the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling gets this weekend's Sunday Shout Out. I'll let you read it yourself. It's not that long (just nine... Read more →


Eager tax filers, especially those with relatively uncomplicated returns, can now take advantage of Free File. The Internal Revenue Service and Free File Alliance of tax software manufacturers are open for filers. Just go to IRS.gov, click the File Your Taxes for Free line under How can we help you?" and you're there. If you use a search engine to find free tax filing, you'll likely discover other options. You'll also probably get such offers in your email box. But the only official, IRS-sanctioned Free File option is the one on its website. 8 participants in 2022: This year, the... Read more →


IRS via Twitter The millions of taxpayers who must make estimated tax payments this month get a few more days to come up with the money. Since the usual Jan. 15 deadline is Saturday, and the next business day is Monday's MLK Day federal holiday, the fourth estimated deadline for 2021 payments is Tuesday, Jan. 18. Taxes on self-employment earnings: More than 20 million individuals make these extra tax payments each year. They generally total four, with the payment amounts reflecting earnings that aren't subject to withholding received during four segments of the tax year. Estimated taxes typically are paid... Read more →


You're expecting a refund, so you're planning to file your tax return soon. Wait. You might want to take a step or two back. First, you need to make sure you have all the information you need to properly fill out your 2021 Form 1040. You can get an idea of that material in my post examining some common tax statements you need to complete your filing. Second, you need more than paperwork. You need to take a good look at your personal situation and answer some questions. The responses could affect your filing. This checklist can help. Start with... Read more →


There aren't any surprises in National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins' annual report to Congress on the 2021 filing season. Something else that's not surprising is that Collins warns that things aren't likely to get any better for taxpayers, tax pros, or the Internal Revenue Service this year. Unprecedented tax annus horribilis: "Calendar year 2021 was surely the most challenging year taxpayers and tax professionals have ever experienced," wrote Collins in the prologue of the required report issued today, Jan. 12. The problems included long processing and refund delays, difficulty reaching the IRS by phone, correspondence that went unprocessed for... Read more →


I got my first tax statement today, a 1099 for some freelance work I did last year. That's just one of the documents that millions of taxpayers are awaiting so they can file their tax year 2021 returns. In addition to income statements, such as the 1099-NEC I got, 1099s with details on investment earnings, and W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, there are beau coup documents reporting tax-related transactions. Among the most common are forms detailing home related mortgage interest and taxes paid from escrow accounts, retirement account distributions, prize and gambling winnings, and in some cases, health... Read more →


It's official. The Internal Revenue Service just announced that it will begin accepting and processing 2021 individual tax returns on Monday, Jan. 24. Yes, I realize some eager taxpayers have already e-filed their personal tax year 2021 Form 1040s. That's OK. But you still have to wait. The IRS has placed them in a holding queue, and won't start processing them until the official Jan. 24 start of the tax season. But at least that tax task is off your 2022 to-do list. And yes, more will file on Jan. 14, which is when the IRS' partnership with some tax... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) unit is my favorite section of the tax agency. Part of it is because I've always been fascinated by law enforcement. Add tax geek to the mix, and it's a natural fit. My investigative bent was bolstered when my first full-time job as a young newspaper reporter on the cop beat. Those West Texas police officers tried their best to intimidate and gross out this young woman. They failed. Many times, solving a crime also is like unravelling a mystery, especially when the crooks are inventive. As a life-long mystery fan, that component... Read more →


Photo: United Van Lines Our house is at that age where it needs a lot of care to continue to be comfortable. That's led to more frequent discussions about whether to stay or go. I'm the nester in our family, and was the one who pushed for buying our place almost 17 years ago. But a couple of times recently, like when our main HVAC unit needed to be replaced, I've argued for just selling and letting the new owners deal with it. The hubby has been able to talk me down so far. He also knows that as much... Read more →


Updated Monday, Jan. 10, to add the just-announced start of the individual taxpayer filing season on Jan. 24. Free File will open earlier, on Jan. 14. With 2022's arrival came our new calendars. It also means that we need to mark some key tax dates. For the last couple of years, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with the tax dates we were used to meeting. There are some changes in 2022, too, but most of them are due to the traditional way the Internal Revenue Service deals with tax deadlines falling on weekends or federal holidays. The affected due dates get... Read more →


A new year means a new federal tax filing season, but most states collect some type of income tax, too. And when 2022 arrived, so did a variety of tax changes across the United States. In many, it was tax cuts, even with the effects of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic posing some revenue problems. The unanticipated tax cuts mean that states are likely to face difficult budget choices in the future. But hey, lawmakers, especially in election years, tend to think about the here and now, leaving future fiscal issues to the future and those around then to deal with... Read more →


It's ready, set, go for tax season 2022, at least for business taxpayers. The IRS has announced a start date for these filings. (Photo by Snapwire via Pexels) We have a start date for the Internal Revenue Service's 2022 tax filing season! Unfortunately for individual taxpayers, it's not for you. (Update, Jan. 10: The IRS has set Monday, Jan. 24, as the start of the individual tax filing season.) The IRS announced on its Modernized e-File (MeF) Status web page that it will begin accepting electronically filed business tax returns at 9 a.m. Eastern time on Jan. 7, 2022. Yes,... Read more →


It's the first week of January and some people are already working on their taxes. They're expecting a refund and they want the Internal Revenue Service to have their forms as soon as possible so the agency can process them when tax season 2022 officially starts. Those enthusiastic filers, however, might want to take a break. In order to properly file their 2021 tax returns, many likely will need one or both tax statements the IRS is sending out this month. One is a notice of how much an individual got as the third Economic Impact Payment (EIP) issued in... Read more →


Image: BoulderCounty.org It looks like New Tax Year 2022 is going to be like 2021 in at least one regard. The usual April Tax Day is postponed for some filers. The reason also is the same as last year. Late-year major natural disasters. The devastating, but thankfully not deadly (although two people are still missing), end-of-2021 wildfires in Colorado have joined this unwanted list. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that Boulder Country residents whose homes and/or businesses were in the path of this past weekend's wildfires will have until May 16 to file various returns and make tax payments.... Read more →


One of President Joe Biden's acts as 2021 wound down was issuing an executive order calling for improvements at government agencies, including the IRS, to improve customer service. (White House Facebook photo) The Biden White House says a recent Executive Order (EO) will make dealing with federal agencies easier. That includes the one with which almost every American interacts at some point, the Internal Revenue Service. Improved IRS customer service is part of the Biden Administration's broader vision of ensuring that the federal government works for its citizens. Toward that goal, President Joe Biden's Executive Order 14058 says the "Federal... Read more →


I know I said this last year, but once again, I have never been so ready for a fresh start! The last two years were full of chaos, COVID-19 and otherwise, that affected every part of our lives, taxes included. So, recoveries from a New Year's Eve of hearty partying notwithstanding, let's get right to 2022 taxes! April Tax Day, but not the 15th: This year, the Internal Revenue Service is aiming to get back on a more normal cycle. Tax Day 2022 is in April. OK, it's on Monday the 18th instead of the 15th, but still. The three-day... Read more →


Shutterstock If you're celebrating the end of 2021 and welcoming 2022 with an adult beverage at midnight, enjoy! When you bought your booze, you might have noticed it cost a bit more, especially if you go bubbly. Apparently, says Wine Searcher, "The much-vaunted Champagne drought of 2021 is real – and it's starting to show in the retail sector." Wine Enthusiast says here in the United States, we're in the early stages of a Champagne shortage that is expected to last several years. When things are hard to get, the ol' law of supply and demand means the price tag... Read more →